Sunday, December 19, 2010

Openet and Allot Communications are your enemy

Via Wired, we have this presentation (PDF) from two companies that want you to pay extra for everything you do on the internet that doesn't include premium services from your mobile carrier. Take a look at these guys.

And take a look at what they propose.


  1. Sounds like a great idea. Maybe we can get better service for the apps we care about.

  2. You have a point about managing finite bandwidth, but I think this is a classic tatemae. Why is facebook on the list? Even a heavy-using teenager isn't going to be able to consume more bandwidth with facebook than streaming services like skype and youtube.

    This is about charging a premium for the most desirable content, which is what carriers had always done prior to devices that were not locked down and limited to their wall-garden internets. US Verizon is notorious for this, so it was absolutely no surprise that the iPhone got released on the struggling AT&T as opposed to the top US carrier, a phenomenon not limited to the US at all

    These guys are proposing exactly what the carriers want to hear, a means for popular services like skype and youtube to generate revenue for the carriers or a means to make the carrier's competing paid services competitive.

    Either way, this does not have the interest of the consumers in mind, no matter how they spin it.

  3. So I guess the next step to address these concerns is to level up this arms race by establishing a proxy tunnel through your PC. Can this be done to mask the packets as something more innocuous like HTTP packets (port 80)?

  4. Well as long as you don't encrypt the DPI gear will be able to pick up your traffic. So maybe just do ssh tunnel to your shell machine somewhere and then just local socks proxy to funnel all connectivity through it (that's what I'm doing when not attached to my home LAN).

  5. The best would probably be to use a VPN connection to your home computer I guess. That would be the easiest to setup I think. Android has built-in support for VPN.

    But running a VPN on your home computer increases your risk of getting hacked - I prefer to have my personal machines behind a firewall...

    And, there is absolutely no chance these types of restrictions are ever going to happen IMO. We really aren't hurting for bandwidth so bad in Japan (OK maybe softbank is), and if this happened in the US, it is probably all that would be needed for congress to get involved wrt net neutrality.

  6. If water companies did this, then the water you use to make macaroni and cheese would cost one amount, while the water you use to make ice for champagne would be priced at a higher level. Gasoline for Porsches would also cost more than for K-cars. Privacy/network neutrality/encryption of all packets is going to be the only way to defeat this. The carriers just risk making internet traffic that much more difficult to monitor. Ironic . . .

  7. Shonangreg: Your example falls a little short. A more accurate description would be as if using water to make food costs one amount, and another amount for using water to fill your outdoor pool daily (because water is so cheap, its more efficient than chlorinating it). And you live in a desert area where the water you use it piped from the mountains.

    Its one thing when the tech geeks and enthusiasts are data hogs; most companies can handle 5% of their customers using 80% of their infrastructure. The problem is when data-hungry activities become mainstream. I remember reading in the news when that Comcast-Netflix issue arose, that Netflix actually accounts for a substantial amount of bandwidth used in the States, something over 30% (I can't remember exactly, but I was taken aback by how high the percent was from just one company). Now, we're talking about the wired internet, which is much more robust when it comes to massive amounts of data, and people are complaining about that. Put it into the context of the much more expensive to maintain and expand wireless networks, and you can see where the concern is coming from.

    That's not to say I agree with it, of course. The wireless companies should just pony up and spend more on expanding their networks. Should become less of a problem once mass-adoption of LTE comes into play as it is much more efficient with spectrum.

  8. Regarding Facebook and other data-light applications, I am sure this is just a case of the people behind the technology trying to sell their product by listing as many possible applications as possible (my bits of string have a million uses! You can use it as floss, you can tie it around your finger to remember something, etc...).

    Assuming we still have a free market, customers could always move to a carrier that doesn't utilize the system, and considering how unattractive it is to consumers, I am sure there will be at least one carrier that tries to make due without. And if that's not possible, they would only apply it when absolutely necessary to reduce consumer backlash.

    The crux of the argument basically is, who is going to shoulder the cost required for the infrastructure's growth to match the growth of the market. Naturally we would leave it to the carriers, but when external forces are shaping the market in a way that forces you to throw a lot of money to keep up, its reasonable (though still wrong) to want to avoid the issue by attacking the external forces.